Main Priorities

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Priority 1: Identify Service Members, Veterans and Their Families (SMVF) and Screen for Suicide Risk

Team Lead: Lauren Stentz


  1. Identify Florida’s Veterans to increase opportunities for contact and referral to relevant resources
  2. Make Veterans aware of mental health resources during a critical point of increased suicide risk (separation from the military)
  3. Implement standardized screening for SMVF status and suicide risk in clinical and medical settings
  4. Involve non-VA, non-medical, and non-clinical community partners in asking about SMVF status, noticing suicide risk red flags, and referring individuals at-risk to care

Main Initiatives:

  • Add mental health resource-related wording to the DVA letter sent to all new Veterans declaring Florida as their state of residence
  • Adding mental health resource-related wording to the email sent to every individual that identifies themselves as a Veteran at the DMV
  • Devise a formalized training for civilians and laypersons so that they can: 1) Be informed about the unique experience of Veterans; 2) Learn how to recognize the red flags for suicide risk

Priority 2: Promote Connectedness and Improve Care Transitions

Team Lead: Nick Howland


  1. Improve awareness of resources, services and benefits available to SMVF
  2. Improve access to resources, services, and benefits available to SMVF
  3. Improve coverage and usage of resources, services and benefits available to SMVF

Main Initiatives:

  • Create a comprehensive, searchable database of region-specific resources relevant to Veterans

Priority 3: Taking a Comprehensive Approach to Suicide Prevention for Service Members, Military, Veterans and Family Members (SMVF)

Team Lead: Lynn Schultz


  1. Develop and execute a cohesive Governor’s Challenge outreach, advertising, and media campaign
  2. Promote Veteran outreach that is consistent with personal preferences
  3. Ensure engaged, Veteran-focused participation from organizations
  4. Use a Public Health approach to ensure impact on all levels of social ecology (individual relationships, community and societal)

Main Initiatives:

  • Develop a comprehensive advertising and media campaign to make the public aware of Governor’s Challenge efforts and resources, and disseminate educational information
  • Establish a designation for all organizations that significantly partner with the Florida Governor’s Challenge Team

Priority 4: Lethal Means Safety and Safety Planning

Team Lead: Walter Sachs


  1. Expand the gun lock distribution program in Florida
  2. Ensure inclusion of consistent, comprehensive means safety messaging in Governor’s Challenge overall messaging campaign
  3. Increase Narcan distribution to additional communities and organizations not already receiving distribution today
  4. Increase attention paid to medication as lethal means
  5. Promote, disseminate, and provide education surrounding the VA’s new Safety Planning App

Main Initiatives:

  • Expand gun lock distribution efforts in Florida
  • Highlight existing medication drop off boxes
  • Expand Narcan distribution
  • Develop and disseminate a means safety campaign
  • Promote safety planning as part of means safety via the VA’s safety planning app